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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Perry French Imperial Guard Horse Artillery WIP

I finally got started on the French Imperial Guard Horse artillery from Perry Miniatures. I've said it before and I'll say it again - there is nothing like painting great miniatures to bring out the best you have as a painter. These figures are a pleasure to paint. The base colors have been finished and now it's time to do some highlighting, detail work and clean-up of some painting "mistakes". The finished product will provide 2 batteries of artillery for the Emperor's Volley and Bayonet army.

I think that technically the above figure is an NCO, but I decided to paint him based on a print of an Imperial Guard Horse Artillery officer at Waterloo. Looking at the picture, I need to clean up the cuff and gold trim on his right arm.

Above are the other 3 gunners that come with the pack.
I recently started using mounting the figures on bottle caps when I paint. Previously I would put them on hobby craft sticks; but now that I am doing more 28 mm figures, the craft sticks were not working as well for me - especially for this period! More straps, lace, etc., to paint - not to mention poking myself with bayonets and hoping I don't break them off.

This figure screamed old campaigner to me. Most of the time I paint the faces first as it gives the figure "character" and helps motivate me as the painter. Nicely animated pose; you can imagine him sighting down the barrel or making sure all is ready to fire on the enemies of France.

Just a shot of the Battery commander and the old campaigner. The pictures really does not do justice to the coveralls that all of the figures are wearing.

Parting shot of the other two figures that will be on the other battery. Once done, I'm going to repaint some old Minifig artillery pieces for them to use. The 8 pounder that came with the pack I'm going to use with the Line Foot artillery pack.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Christmas Goodies

My Christmas gift from my beautiful bride of 25 1/2 years were two packs of French artillery from Perry Miniatures. The packs are FN19 Foot Artillery priming 6 pounder (greatcoats) and FN111 Guard Horse Artillery firing.

I have always been impressed with the quality and detail on Perry miniatures - and these new goodies are not an exception. I was particularly impressed with the coveralls on the Horse Guard artillerymen. For Volley and Bayonet, I mount 2 figures per artillery base so these packs will provide 4 artillery batteries. I'm going to mount the 6 pounders with the Foot artillery and I have 2 old artillery guns that I will mount with the Guard Horse. These will be fine additions for the French army in the Peninsular.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Battle of Friedchikun - The Conclusion

Honorable Son #2's girlfriend asks: "Okay, explain to me again how a high school freshman beat a retired infantry officer and an Army cadet?"

Okay it's time to 'fess up. I can't find my notes for the battle report. Here's a quick summary and lots of pictures

As mentioned earlier the game would last 8 turns. The initial attacks by the French Infantry divisions were met with disaster. The division advancing on the extreme right through the woods became hopelessly disordered and would stay so for the majority of the game. The other division advanced through the open ground into the Imperial artillery's engagement error which took all of 2 1/2 turns for the division to become exhausted and unable to conduct any more offensive actions.

I've never seen artillery through so many 6's in my life. The only thing the saved the right and center from complete collapse was the reserve and the conduct of the French cavalry.

The French cavalry, led by Honorable Son #2, performed superbly as they repulsed the initial Imperial cavalry charge on the French left flank. Then, in a series of attacks, the French cavalry in wave after wave pushed backed and punished their Imperial counter parts and almost broke the Austrian center.

Only the quick repositioning of several Imperial infantry regiments by Honorable Son #4 prevented the collapse of the Austrian position. If the French infantry had not performed so disastrously early on in the battle (yeah, it was my fault) and had been able to support the French cavalry, the outcome of the game might have been different.

By the end of turn 7, both armies had taken high casualties; however, the French had no divisions except for one cavalry division capable of offensive action. Realizing that there was no way for the French to win, the French commander graciously conceded the field of battle to the Imperial commander.

In the end, the steadiness of the Imperial commander keeping to his plan gave him victory. The French employed their cavalry well, but the uncoordinated attacks of the infantry with the lack of artillery support led to missed opportunities. A fun game that reminded us all that maybe the Great Captains of that time knew how to deploy their armies the right way!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Battle of Friedchikun - The French Plan

Before I get into the battle report, just a brief comment on status markers for Volley and Bayonet. The most common markers we use in our games are Stationary, Disordered, Permanently disordered and Division Exhaustion. Instead of using printed chits, dice or other colored markers, I mounted some extra figures on old German 1 pfennig coins and spray painted them different colors.

Yellow is disordered, Red is permanently disordered, Blue for Division exhaustion and "painted" is Stationary

We also found it useful to use dice to keep track of the turns. Below is a die in a village denoting that it is Turn 6.

On with the plan . . .

The French Army commander, Honorable Son #2

The French Army commander on the tabletop

For our (The French) deployment, we decided (okay, I made a bad decision) to attack with our infantry on the right in one line to force the Imperials to thin their line or give up a flank in order for us to punch through with our reserves wherever he was weakened. We outnumbered him in cavalry so we thought this plan would work and would be flexible in allowing us to take advantage of any opportunities that came up.

Honorable Son # 4 as the Imperial commander redeploying his infantry in response to my advance toward his left flank

The Imperial commander on the tabletop

To pull off this brilliant maneuver, one of my close order, linear infantry divisions advanced through the forest on the French right flank.

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: Do not advance close order, linear infantry through the woods to attack. I obviously forgot what era this was. Look at the following picture:

On the right flank is my brilliant advance through the woods. Since all of the stands were touching I used one disordered marker to show that the entire division on the right is disordered because woods disorder close order infantry. One regiment of the Infantry division on the left and slightly behind the first division is also disordered. Please notice that Honorable Son # 4, the Imperial Commander, is patiently waiting for the slowly advancing French to emerge from the woods so he can blast me with his stationary line.

Whenever units are within close fire range or are in contact, they must check morale. If you are disordered, it adds a -1 to your morale check. The French infantry were M5 so they normally needed a 5 or less to pass morale. Add to that the -1 and they needed a 4 or less. If you are already disordered and you fail morale, your unit routs. See where this is going?

Ready . . . Aim . . .

The French infantry emerged from the woods, took one look at the Austrian Gray Line and effectively took themselves out for the rest of the game! Half of the regiments routed leaving gaps in the line.

Run away! Yellow + Red means rout!

Okay, I promise next posting will have a narrative of the battle with lots of pictures!